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Sanctuary for key workers

Find out how Watford transformed Vicarage Road to support NHS staff.

Watford NHS staff

Watford threw open the doors of their Vicarage Road stadium at the height of the pandemic to offer support to National Health Service workers from the neighbouring Watford General Hospital.

The stadium was renamed the 'Sanctuary' as it provided a safe environment for exhausted workers to recharge their batteries.

More than 1,000 NHS staff members were fed each day, tens of thousands of pairs of surgical scrubs were washed by the club and the stadium's suites and function rooms were used as bedrooms and counselling rooms by the hospital's staff.

"Watford General is only a few yards away, but the environment is so different and really seems to lift the mood," said Christine Allen, Chief Executive of the West Herts Hospital NHS Trust.

"While our sole focus is our patients, the ability to get away makes all the difference.

"The demands on staff, especially those caring for our sickest patients, have been huge. Having a space to talk about the day or sit and reflect after work can really help staff manage their stress.

"This in turn helps them provide the best care for patients."

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